We had booked four nights in a hotel in Corsica and two nights in a hotel in Eze on the Cote d'Azur. The rest was up to divine intervention (or knowing where the sun was shining!)
I couldn't wait to get some holiday heat and sun, and wear the summer clothes which had simply gone into hibernation at the back of my wardrobe. As I sat on the bed thinking of how hot it would be in the South of France and Corsica in peak season, I started to wonder how hard it would be to find hotels during this busy time of year. Time would tell. We've always got the car...!
We set off in the car on our road trip from Dover at a reasonable hour (you'll see this is a rareity in itself if you read my other road trips!) Then we headed South...
~ Vichy ~
First stop, Vichy in the centre of France, famed for its Nazi occupation in WW2. We came across the Celestins spa water source and figured this must be a volcanic spa town. Yes - it is! We stayed at the Ibis hotel in Vichy - good old reliable Accor hotels!
~ Loire Valley ~
We stopped in the Loire Valley to eat at a really 'local' restaurant! They didn't speak English so it was a great opportunity to practice our French early on in the holiday. Amazing omlettes.
~ Avignon ~
Travelling on to Avignon. This is the view of the Rhone from the ferris wheel just outside the city walls. We stayed in the Etap hotel just outside the walls, a five minute walk from the centre of the town (which is within the city walls).
The Palais des Papes just before sunset. This is where the seat of the Catholic Church used to be before Rome, in medieval times
On the ferris wheel in Avignon - I forgot how dizzy these can make me! But the view was incredible.
~ Aix-en-Provence ~
Travelling on through Provence, still heading South. Next stop - Aix-en-Provence, the home of Paul Cezanne. You can do the Cezanne trail by looking for the gold 'Cs' on the pavement - eat where he ate, shop where he shopped etc...
~ Nice, Cote d'Azur ~
Grand Hotel Le Florence - Arrival in Nice. After finding a city centre carpark which charged an astronomical 30 Euros for overnight parking, we found this lovely 3 star hotel in Nice city centre. We had to leave the car where it was so as not to risk getting lost again, and parking is the same rip-off everywhere in the centre. 30 Euros argh! But it was worth it...
Nice at midnight after a delicious carbonara. Ideal photo opportunity in the middle of the tramway on Boulevard de Victor Hugo
A corner of Vieux Nice where we ate lunch in a little brasserie. Upon asking for the menu, the waiter came out and announced 'I am menu.' Brilliant!
~ Eze, Cote d'Azur ~
Really pretty hotel room at 4 star guesthouse Bastide Aux Camelias, just outside Eze village. Goregous rooms with elegant country style. 20 minutes walk to Eze with stunning views.
Incredible tastes on one plate. Delicious filet steak lunch at 4 star Chateau Eza Hotel Restaurant. Stunning panoramic 'front-row' views of the Med on the outdoors terrace
The view of the med from Eze Village. The cactus garden at the top of the village and Richard doing in-depth research, and the view of the med and village from the Cactus Garden.
The clay sculptures of various women dotted around the gardens are stunning. They are designed to explore and celebrate femininity in various forms by French artist Jean-Philippe Richard.
~ Monte Carlo, Cote d'Azur ~
We travelled on to Monaco. This is the F1 track at Monte Carlo (on public roads) - there's no race on in this photo but Richard wanted to see this.
'Is this it?' is all he said as we walked by the casino. He'd expected the red and white edging to show that it's the racetrack - and walking down to the sea, we found it.
~ San Remo, Italy ~
Narrow alleyways in our next journey to San Remo - Italian Riviera. Delicious 'Dolce Vita' treats, one-off shops and olde world buildings.
~ Corsica ~
A holiday within a holiday! - Travelling to Corsica on the night ferry - we saved money on a hotel and saved time travelling in our sleep! We slept on the seating here. We topped and tailed as it was so narrow. Richard's feet stunk!
Stunning mountain scenery and Richard taking a breather after the 30 minute walk from the 'tete due chien' rock on the roadside, to the 'Chateau Fortress' to see the Les Calanches rock formations. Stunning panoramic views and sunsets. In Corsica we stayed at the La Vaita hotel in Porto, about a ten minute walk from the seafront.
Porto at sunset just before our delicious pasta meal at a really busy restaurant on the seafront.
Bathing in the eden-like vasques near Chisa in the South East of Corsica. (Vasques are stone basins like rock pools which are part of a stream and waterfalls). It's like a natural waterpark. The warm smooth rocks surrounding the water provide excellent sunbathing opportunities and the cool, clear water is so deep in some places you can jump from rocks high in the air (at your own risk!)
~ Turin ~
After travelling back to the mainland on the ferry and sleeping in a real cabin this time, we stopped in Turin. This is Richard in Turin city centre seeking out landmarks from The Italian Job. Sadly the Fiat factory with the track on the roof was closed to visitors.
~ French Alps ~
Mountain scenery especially stunning on a very clear day driving through the Alps into France.
~ Dijon ~
Stopping at Dijon to buy some renowned Cote D'Or wine and mooch around appreciating the buildings and character of this surprisingly compact city centre.
~ Troyes ~
The beamed buildings of Troyes in the town centre just after sunset
Richard excited to find a hotel in Troyes, and a bed to snooze in (the funky and colourful 'Ibis Styles' hotel - e.g. giant plastic fruit, colourful lighting and a great varied breakfast whilst sitting on egg shaped chairs)
If you are interested in seeing more of Nice - take a look at my youtube video!
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